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  • No news is good news
    1 December 2014 1 October 2014 1 September 2014 1 June 2014 1 April 2014 1 March 2014 2 February 2014 1 January 2014 2 December 2013 1 November 2013 1 October 2013 1 September 2013 2 August 2013 1 July 2013 1 April 2013 1 January 2013 1 December 2012 3 July 2012 1 May 2012 1 March 2012 1 January 2012 1 November 2011 1 October 2011 1 September 2011 1 August 2011 1 July 2011 1 June 2011 2 May 2011 4 April 2011 2 March 2011 2 February 2011 3 January 2011 1 December 2010 2 November 2010 3 October 2010 2 September 2010 3 August 2010 14 July 2010 6 June 2010 4 May 2010 6 April 2010 5 March 2010 3 February 2010 3 January 2010 6 December 2009 5 November 2009 5 October 2009 10 September 2009 14 August 2009 8 Admin Log in Entries RSS Comments RSS WordPress org No news is good news March 31st 2011 by Jenny in Uncategorized So I ve just submitted my paper the culmination of 4 years of hard scientific work to a very good journal It s Thursday afternoon nearly Friday I feel like I ve been run over by a tank And I find myself thinking I don t care if it gets sent out for review and ultimately gets rejected I m just happy that don t have to think about it for a while So go ahead referees take as long as you like Really 6 Comments Nik Papageorgiou 1 Comment permalink March 31st 2011 at 17 38 I m with you Jenny Just submitted one last week and just glad to have it off my mind For now Jenny 2 Comment permalink March 31st 2011 at 20 50 In fact I

    Original URL path: http://blogs.lablit.com/2011/03/no-news-is-good-news/ (2016-04-26)
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  • This isn’t what I signed up for
    January 2013 1 December 2012 3 July 2012 1 May 2012 1 March 2012 1 January 2012 1 November 2011 1 October 2011 1 September 2011 1 August 2011 1 July 2011 1 June 2011 2 May 2011 4 April 2011 2 March 2011 2 February 2011 3 January 2011 1 December 2010 2 November 2010 3 October 2010 2 September 2010 3 August 2010 14 July 2010 6 June 2010 4 May 2010 6 April 2010 5 March 2010 3 February 2010 3 January 2010 6 December 2009 5 November 2009 5 October 2009 10 September 2009 14 August 2009 8 Admin Log in Entries RSS Comments RSS WordPress org This isn t what I signed up for February 10th 2011 by Jenny in Uncategorized Scientists get a lot of junk mail Even though I carefully avoid putting my email or postal addresses on anything not least the mailing lists at marketing booths in conference expos no amount of cool swag is worth that sort of pain I somehow get inundated with crap nonetheless Of course there s nothing I can do about what comes through the post aside from chuck it straight into the recycle bin One day I m sure they ll make unsolicited post illegal but for now we re stuck with it On the other hand I take great pleasure in unsubscribing from the daily crop of marketing emails that clutter my email inbox I enjoy the ones that allow you to give a reason The very best unsubscribe websites though are the ones whose final parting dialogue box says Thank you for your interest in our products Interest I don t think that word means what you think it means 5 Comments ricardipus 1 Comment permalink February 10th 2011 at 19 17 130 characters

    Original URL path: http://blogs.lablit.com/2011/02/this-isnt-what-i-signed-up-for/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Little things mean a lot
    January 12th 2011 by Jenny in Uncategorized If you re like me you might sometimes wonder what would happen if you were to omit particular steps in an experimental protocol I m the sort who religiously follows instructions even when I suspect they re not that important so I don t often have the chance to find out Not so our poor rotating graduate student This afternoon he discovered exactly what transpires when you don t wet your membrane in methanol prior to equilibrating in buffer and performing a Western blot Utter carnage Don t try this at home kids 9 Comments challenge 1 Comment permalink January 12th 2011 at 18 11 awww poor student I never wet my membranes in methanol but I think I might use different membrane for my WBs Sometimes it is a valuable lessons these missed steps seldom cheap though rpg 2 Comment permalink January 12th 2011 at 21 04 I sympathize The first time I ever used this new fangled PVDF stuff I didn t know you had to wet it with methanol Of course once I figured it out I never went back to nitrocellulose rpg 3 Comment permalink January 12th 2011 at 21 05 PS rotating graduate student still makes me laugh Jenny 4 Comment permalink January 12th 2011 at 22 39 The student was a really good sport saying it was a learning experience and he was happy just to run it again I think he s got the right mental attitude for this job Ian the EM guy 5 Comment permalink January 13th 2011 at 13 01 You have to take these things on the chin At least you know why it went wrong It s when there are so many steps in a protocol and you have no idea

    Original URL path: http://blogs.lablit.com/2011/01/little-things-mean-a-lot/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Boffins in fancy dress
    2013 1 April 2013 1 January 2013 1 December 2012 3 July 2012 1 May 2012 1 March 2012 1 January 2012 1 November 2011 1 October 2011 1 September 2011 1 August 2011 1 July 2011 1 June 2011 2 May 2011 4 April 2011 2 March 2011 2 February 2011 3 January 2011 1 December 2010 2 November 2010 3 October 2010 2 September 2010 3 August 2010 14 July 2010 6 June 2010 4 May 2010 6 April 2010 5 March 2010 3 February 2010 3 January 2010 6 December 2009 5 November 2009 5 October 2009 10 September 2009 14 August 2009 8 Admin Log in Entries RSS Comments RSS WordPress org Boffins in fancy dress December 7th 2010 by Jenny in Uncategorized Panda scientist dressed up as pandas We can t let China corner the market on this sort of thing Come one guys let s do some damage Who s in 11 Comments rwintle 1 Comment permalink December 7th 2010 at 21 00 It s like something out of a Flaming Lips concert Now is it too late to take up research on Giraffes or maybe Angler Fish Just think of the costume possibilities Jenny 2 Comment permalink December 7th 2010 at 21 02 I m thinking HeLa cell perhaps one with a bizarre phenotype Paula Salgado 3 Comment permalink December 7th 2010 at 21 47 Taking inspiration from Giant Microbes Id have to go with a Candida albicans cell or a cool virus like polio or pox Paula Salgado 4 Comment permalink December 7th 2010 at 21 48 or may be a protein structure although that demands technical abilities beyond what I can phantom Paula Salgado 5 Comment permalink December 7th 2010 at 21 49 Just thought of third option protein crystal That

    Original URL path: http://blogs.lablit.com/2010/12/boffins-in-fancy-dress/ (2016-04-26)
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  • One experiment too far
    waters Of course I won t pretend it never happened sweep it under the carpet go on as if nothing had changed Even though it s a rather minor point to the story I will still have to regroup a little bit Makes you wonder sometimes about all the published scientific papers out there How many of these might be cast into doubt by the next experiment had it only been performed When we draw a line under a story and pronounce it finished can we sometimes be cutting off an eventual truth Yet if we never stopped how could we ever publish anything How could we spin our narrative focus our questions find our answers The more years I am in research the more provisional it all seems If I go on like this will I end up believing in nothing 6 Comments Dr Girlfriend 1 Comment permalink November 9th 2010 at 23 36 Hi Jenny I think the simple truth is there will always be more you could do If we all had armies of minions and huge grants then we might be justified in feeling bad about not doing every minor experiment that might or might not strengthen our project However for most of us time and money are real limitations as is the need to get published or graduate sooner rather than later Unless it is simple to do and or a crucial piece of data then a particular experiment may not be a justified investment of your time and effort I know that awkward data does sometimes get brushed under the carpet and this is unethical It is also not ethical to avoid an experiment because it might mess up your nice little story However because you cannot do every conceivable experiment you can pick and choose to do the ones that make the most sense at the time A fact of life for scientists is they are judged on their publication record not how good or throughout their unpublished research is I also think that if it is important it is better to get out what you already know rather than wait and wait until you know even more Even without all the bad data and poorly done experiments science is provisional and never ending Besides there are also only so many figures you can include in any one paper and it makes sense to divide a research project up into publishable units Ideally a second or third paper by you or someone else will build upon the first but if further data contradicts or confuses your initial findings it will only reflect badly on you if you or others cannot repeat what you did in the first place Bob O H 2 Comment permalink November 10th 2010 at 07 58 Of course I won t pretend it never happened sweep it under the carpet go on as if nothing had changed You could not tell anyone and then agonise over it for months

    Original URL path: http://blogs.lablit.com/2010/11/one-experiment-too-far/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Health and safety gone mad
    experiment we do in the lab what is harmful about each step and what safety gear is required When goggles were essential it was noted down and all new people in the lab are required to familiarize themselves with these documents So if people are doing what they ought even the rawest PhD students should know the score and of course all newbies are supervised by experienced scientists who should be imparting their wisdom about safety as well We are told that the rationale for the new ruling was an increase in eye injuries I haven t seen the numbers though The risk assessment exercise was only recently completed was the increase before this Were the injured people flouting the rules and not wearing eye protection when they knew they should And would these people be the same sorts to ignore the new rulings Were the number of injuries more than other mishaps that can occur at the workplace stumbling down stairs for example or banging heads on furniture or cuts Did the injuries mostly occur in one building was there a history there of poor training I really would like to see the stats But meanwhile it seems we really are stuck with the new rule I d be happy to sign a form absolving my employers of any liability were my eyes injured by a freak incident incurred while performing something nonhazardous in a lab and not wearing goggles but somehow I fear that s not an option We are no longer allowed to take personal responsibility for anything Now if you ll excuse me I have to go to the kitchen and use sharp knives to make breakfast Pity I left my goggles in the lab 13 Comments Jim 1 Comment permalink October 17th 2010 at 12 48 This is totally ridiculous The only time I ever get crap in my eyes is when walking down the street usually a spray of dust from a passing wagon carrying who knows what The only time I wear eye protection is when cycling as this makes sense In the lab as you say only when required If they institute the same policy here I m not sure I wouldn t come over all petulant and properly spit my dummy out Bob O H 2 Comment permalink October 17th 2010 at 13 54 Ha I hope that isn t the BBSRC one of their institutes has student s desks in the labs Imagine having to wear goggles whilst reading a paper Oh wait do they say you have to wear goggles over the eyes Or can they just be a fashion accessory Jenny 3 Comment permalink October 17th 2010 at 14 00 Jim I am quite sure you re not allowed to suck on a dummy in the lab right up there with chewing gum when it comes to life threatening activities banned in our building Bob it is a research council but one starting with M Bob O H

    Original URL path: http://blogs.lablit.com/2010/10/health-and-safety-gone-mad/ (2016-04-26)
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  • The big thaw
    February 2010 3 January 2010 6 December 2009 5 November 2009 5 October 2009 10 September 2009 14 August 2009 8 Admin Log in Entries RSS Comments RSS WordPress org The big thaw October 6th 2010 by Jenny in Uncategorized It happens suddenly when you least expect it It is a matter of utmost urgency and requires the entire lab to drop everything else they re doing and pull together No one experiment is more important than this intermittent yet inevitable event I am speaking of course of your typical Lab Freezer Emergency Of course we are all in denial about defrosting We watch day in and day out as the frost mounts and it becomes more and more difficult to pull out drawers and closer doors Of course we know that we should do some preventative scraping but aside from perhaps the occasional lazy kick which sends shards of ice flying we can t really be bothered Until that fateful morning when we arrive in to lab and find that the freezer almost always the one that contains the most precious samples is frozen in the door ajar position Battle stations Down your lattes ladies and gentlemen put on your white coats and gloves and grab your favorite implement of choice metal spatula 10 mL plastic pipette Eppendorf rack No not you two you guys turn loaves into fishes and actually find another freezer that has the space to accommodate all the imperiled boxes for a few hours No I don t care if there s no room make some Oh hey brainwave Go flirt with that cute post doc down the corridor and see if he s got some space Chop chop It s cold It s hard work It s after a few minutes getting pretty wet on the floor We free the stuck drawers liberate the now moist and floppy cardboard boxes and bang at the ice in turns until we re all short of breath Several dozen rolls of paper towels are mush beneath our feet We fill trays with hot water to speed up the process And a few hours later the freezer is ice free patted dry and good to go All in a day s work ma am We should take this on the road 9 Comments Paul Brennan 1 Comment permalink October 8th 2010 at 09 32 Nice little portrayal of lab life Jen It made me smile Nik Papageorgiou 2 Comment permalink October 8th 2010 at 10 56 You didn t find Scrat in there did you Jenny 3 Comment permalink October 10th 2010 at 19 39 Hey Paul it s been ages Nice to hear from you Nik I suspect your reference is too British for this Yank Explain rpg 4 Comment permalink October 11th 2010 at 06 09 I ve just remembered who Scrat is it s the squirrel type character from the Ice Age movies isn t it Nik Papageorgiou 5 Comment permalink October 11th 2010 at

    Original URL path: http://blogs.lablit.com/2010/10/the-big-thaw/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Garbled missives from the Other Side
    not want to have my productivity adversely affected This was a foolish which While the software is perfectly good for things like this or indeed sending e mails it is almost useless for things like Grant applications or papers ends with scientific verbiage Under a particular words which it seems to have great trouble if for instance laboratory He got it right that time but only because I trained it Other words present a far larger problem For instance anyone understand what I m trying to write here the relationship between pathogen environments and transmission is not well understood the only problem with that sentence was the word environments that should have been appearance That it should have been here That it s it should have been the relevance I just said the same thing four times and each time the software understood that I had said something different As I m sure you can understand this makes writing anything which includes that word on a frequent basis virtually impossible Without question and finding it easier to write than I would if I were only using my left hand but this is still quite a long way short of the maximum potential Also I don t know about you but a crucial stage of writing for me is sketching things out I like to put a few ideas down on the page and then shift around a little bit and then let the words sink into my head before he decided that what I want to say This software works better the more you know what you re going to say indeed when you first start using it you re told that you should speak like a television newsreader Which is fine for television newsreader because they re reading something out If you re trying to create something from scratch it is far more difficult to know exactly what you re going to say and the pauses the arms the cars and things like that can help The last time I knew exactly how I was going to finish his sentence was when I was studying German So in this enforced Of if not relaxation then the ability to raise my eyes from the work in front of me I deliver what s been happening in the wider world of science since I moved Whether I start In this country stem cell research is under pressure once again Not to mention the march of the tea party In fact I was wondering whether and not the software was produced by somebody working for the party given the way that until I trained it it persisted in rendering the word evolution as evil illusion Meanwhile in the UK the Guardian has expiated the sin it commits a few years ago and it s asked its Thursday science supplement It has done this by producing a home for science blogging and so far it looks pretty damned good More recently a German

    Original URL path: http://blogs.lablit.com/2010/09/garbled-missives-from-the-other-side/ (2016-04-26)
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